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UMass Medical School


University of Massachusetts Medical School 


The UMass Macy Mentorship Program in Health Communication Education builds on the successes of the Macy Initiative in Health Communication (1999-2002), a 3-school collaborative medical education research project involving UMass, New York University and Case Western Reserve University medical schools, funded by the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation. The UMass Macy Mentorship Program (2003-2006) was designed to disseminate lessons learned through the original Macy Initiative to medical schools throughout New England. The program draws upon the expertise of UMass leadership: Aaron Lazare, MD, PI and Chancellor/Dean; Michele Pugnaire, MD, Co-PI and Vice Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education; and a group of seasoned faculty mentors who participated in the original Macy Initiative.  Further strengths include: administrative infrastructure in UMMS Office of Medical Education; regional network of medical schools involved in the Northeast consortium of the Community Faculty Development Center. 


To provide an organizational framework to support a multi-institutional collaboration, enabling eight New England medical schools to develop, implement and evaluate innovative health communication curriculum projects targeted to address curriculum needs identified at their respective medical schools. 


  • $10,000 per school per project 
  • Three 2-day working conferences per year held at central  location, providing protected time for teams to focus on  project development, and organizational framework for  communication and cross-fertilization among teams. 
  • 2 assigned Project Mentors per team 
  • 3 one-hour Technical Assistance conference calls per team 
  • Ongoing Research/Evaluation mentorship and consultation 
  • Staged Implementation: 
    • Pilot Year: AY 2003-04 – Boston University School of Medicine and Brown Medical School  
    • Full Implementation Year: AY 2004-05 – Dartmouth Medical School, Harvard Medical School, Tufts University School of Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine. 


  • Team leader/team makeup fit institution needs 
  • Pre-existing working relationships within team 
  • Positive match of team needs with mentor expertise 
  • Institutional support and project alignment with institution needs 
  • Dean support and awareness of project 
  • Ability to leverage other sources of institutional and financial support for project sustainability 


  • Communication challenges across schools most readily addressed when team leader & key administrative contact served as conduit for information exchange 
  • Team leaders, identified by respective school’s dean sponsor, varied in levels of leadership experience; additional factors: team membership makeup, pre-existing working relationships, and geographic barriers 
  • Ability to carve out time to devote to project back at home institution 


  • Manuscript Development 
  • Collection/analysis of project outcome data & overall program effectiveness 


UMASS Contact

Ashton Gunn